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Monday, February 6 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Symposia Session - S2: Midwestern Agroecology and the Conservation of Grassland Birds. Bringing Food to the Table: Growing the Culture of Locally Grown in the Midwest

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AUTHORS: Kristin Hall, Audubon Minnesota; Tom Will, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Loretta Jaus, Organic Valley dairy farmer

ABSTRACT: No matter where in the world we live, a shared meal is the common currency of kindness and community.  Food is what sustains us—but is the way we grow, harvest, distribute, and consume food sustainable? As conservation biologists, our goal of providing quality habitat for wildlife is unlikely to succeed without also connecting to the working lands on which we all depend. Incentives exist to promote sustainable farming practices that benefit wildlife and provide critical ecosystem services. We continue to build strong conservation partnerships with private landowners. But the food system involves all of us, not just land owners and producers. How can we, as food consumers, contribute to sustainable landscapes and wildlife biodiversity? Do recent changes in food preferences or in U.S. population demographics provide a foundation for a movement toward more ecologically based agriculture? How can we bring together all the players in our food system for meaningful conversations? Since we all eat every day, food may well provide our greatest opportunity to effect landscape level change.
We explore answers to these questions by highlighting several case studies that expand on the farm to table movement and provide an alternate vision of our food system. We profile the Minnesota Food Association and Pope Farm Conservancy as examples of the "teaching farm" highlighting a working outdoor landscape, promoting poly-culture, agroecology, and landscape diversity. Then we highlight a Food, Farms, and Feathers event which exemplified the "sustainable table"—bringing together multiple sectors of our food production and consumption system for a shared meal and shared conversation. The event provided participants with an opportunity to see, experience, and talk about practical solutions to current environmental challenges. These grass-roots approaches promote inclusive participation at the intersection of the local food movement, natural resource conservation, social justice, and sustainable agriculture.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Arbor I/II

Attendees (6)